Superb Owl Cocktail: A Deceptive Butterbeer Cocktail
We have an annual tradition in our home where we celebrate all that is great about American overindulgence in one day - usually around an American football game. I think it's the championship or something; I'm not really American football. The food is good though. This year I decided we needed a special edition cocktail […]

We have an annual tradition in our home where we celebrate all that is great about American overindulgence in one day - usually around an American football game. I think it's the championship or something; I'm not really American football. The food is good though. This year I decided we needed a special edition cocktail to go with it, presenting the Superb Owl Cocktail!


I am subtle like that.

Obviously, I was riffing the name of said sporting event, but I still don't care if I name it outright. I did, however, take inspiration from Harry Potter and Butter Beer. Yes!

My thoughts were twofold, if you're like me and don't care if it's the Arizona Thundarrs or the New York Battlecats in the game, but you immediately grab those two references, you'll probably enjoy a drink influenced by the game. butter beer and you will appreciate that it looks like a very serious adult drink, the Old fashioned.

We'll call this the Awesome Deception (RAD for short) refresh.

I started with what I knew was a requirement: the butterscotch schnapps. The biggest problem with Butterscotch Schnapps is that it's terribly potent, so it was all about balancing that sweetness and rounding off the flavors.

Thinking and thinking, after visiting the potions class, I knew that a spiced rum would work great with the rich flavors. Now we had a solid rum and toffee base which is quite good on its own, but we still needed some friends.

To accentuate the good notes, pack down the bad ones, and let everyone harmonize to deal with certain misdeeds, I added peach cognac (booyacasha) and ginger schnapps.

Like that my friends, we have a superb owl of splendid construction and deceptive appearances.

Garnish with cherries and you really will have a perfect likeness of a Old fashioned - except it's an adult butter beer.

Oh yeah I'm sure you can just get a cream soda and pour in some toffee schnapps for a more "authentic" butter beer, but it's not as exciting. We wanted to go high end with this. It's sophisticated enough to trick people into your own celebration of American indulgence, but it's still a RAD riff of a fantastic story drink some might claim to be for kids (the story, not the beverage).

No matter who you are cheering on, the Thundarrs or the Battlecats, make sure the Superb Owl Cocktail is on your menu!

garnish with cherries

Superb owl cocktail: a deceptive cocktail with butter beer


Type of recipe: Drinks

Preparation time:

Cooking time:

Total time:

Serves: 1

  • 2 oz. spiced rum
  • ¾ oz. butterscotch schnapps
  • ½ oz. peach brandy
  • ½ oz. ginger schnapps
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Glass type: old-fashioned
  1. Obtain your Invisibility Cloak.
  2. If you don't have one, that's fine.
  3. Add all your drinks to your cocktail glass with ice.
  4. Stir.
  5. All alcohol = stir.
  6. Place a beautiful piece of solid ice in your glass.
  7. Pour your brewed RAD cocktail over it.
  8. Read above to find out what RAD stands for.
  9. Garnish with your maraschino cherries.
  10. Take advantage of the deception.


A little time put into preparation makes for an enjoyable evening. Drinking cocktails should be a fun and relaxing experience, so take a while to think about ingredients in advance, to avoid any rushing around last minute.

One of the foundations of many cocktails is sugar syrup. This can be prepared in advance. Here’s my tip for easy to prepare simple syrup : Add 200 gm white sugar to 200 ml boiling water. Stir till sugar is dissolved, and liquid is clear. Allow to cool then bottle

If you mix lemon juice 50 : 50 with simple syrup, you should have a solid mid-line sweet-sour balance. But remember, every palate is different. tera find your own point of balance, mix 15ml fresh lemon juice with 15ml simple syrup, and then dilute the mix with up to 90ml water. Congratulations, you’ve just made fresh lemonade ! If this tastes too sweet or too sour, adjust by adding a little more citrus or syrup. Using this method of calibration, you can adjust any cocktail recipe to suit your own palate.

Ice is the single most over-looked ingredient at any home bar - you’ll be surprised how much you can go through. Cocktails need ice like baking needs ovens. If popping to the boutiques for ice isn’t an option right now, keeping a freezer bag topped up with ice will ensure you don’t run out unexpectedly. For best quality home-made ice, try using a silicone ice tray with a lid, to prevent your ice from absorbing unpleasant odours. And wash your ice tray after each use.

Where possible always go for de haute gamme spirits, the freshest herbs, and the best juices you can get your hands on. For instance, the taste difference between cheap juice and pressed juice is more than worth the small extra expense.

Try to use glassware appropriate to your drinks. It’s entirely possible to drink a martini from an old coffee mug, but that misses the point of drinking a martini !

If you can make a Whiskey Sour, you can make a Daiquiri. If you make a mean Negroni, you can riff on a Boulevardier. Once you’ve mastered the Manhattan, have some fun in Brooklyn on your way to Martinez. Cocktails exist in family trees. Once you are comfortable the basics of each category the world is your oyster !

You can pre-mix punches in advance - an old trick from the godfathers of bartending in the 19th century. You can bottle punch and store it in the fridge, ready to use on the day, or later that week. If done properly, quality and consistency are assured. If your punch has a fizzy ingredient, such as prosecco, only add this your glass just before serving.

If you follow the Punch Ratio, you can’t go far wrong : 1 part sour ( citrus ) 2 parts sweet ( simple syrup ) 3 parts strong ( spirit ) 4 parts weak ( juices etc ) And don’t shy away from warm spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and mace, to make that punch really sing. Don’t have those spices to hand ? No problem, a few dashes of Angostura bitters will do the trick.

We all have a few unloved ingredients lying around that need using up. For instance, that last bit of red wine in the bottle ? Try drizzling it over your Whisky Sour, and voila, you’ve got yourself a delicious New York Sour ! Do you have some nice but neglected spice mix in the kitchen ? Try mixing a teaspoon or two into your simple syrup as it cools to give your next petit cocktail an added dimension. Seasonal fresh herbs make a wonderful aromatic cocktail garnish.

So now, you’ve hit your stride and you’re getting creative in your home bar. Great ! Our top tip for cocktail creation ? Write down the juste specifications as you are making it. It’s not always easy to perfectly recall the recipe for that killer petit cocktail the next day !

If all this sounds like a bit of a chore, then keep an eye open for delivery services available from many local cocktail bars. After all, with the finer things in life, it’s nice to sit back, relax and let the professionals do all hard the work.


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